New York Bus Drivers Arrange 22 School Buses to Spell '2020' in Tribute to Graduating Class
A group of New York bus drivers paid tribute to local seniors who won't have a traditional graduation ceremony this year due to social distancing restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this month, bus drivers from the Windsor Central School District arranged 22 of their school buses to spell out "2020" in the Windsor Central High School parking lot. Not only that, but they also wrote the names of all 119 of the district's graduating seniors in chalk.
“Over the years we end up being like their, not only their transportation but their, almost like a counselor, the disciplinarian," Windsor bus driver Nancy Flanagan told WIVT.
"We hold many hats we don’t just sit there and drive the bus, so these children become our children the longer we have them on the bus," she added. "They’re one of ours."
According to WIVT, the entire display took about three hours to organize. Throughout the process, the team of drivers had someone send them pictures from a nearby roof to help them make adjustments.
“We wanted to show them we care. It’s our way of saying goodbye and letting them know they aren’t forgotten,” Flanagan said in a post to the school district's Facebook page. “They grow up with us, they first get on our bus when they’re four years old.”
Many from the community praised the bus drivers for their heartfelt act in comments on Facebook.
"Not a surprise. Our school bus drivers are always there for the students & the community," wrote one user. "Thank you so much for all you do!"
"I knew I was PROUD to be a Windsor graduate, and so were my kids," wrote another. "Thank you to all who made this 2020 graduation special for this year's seniors."
Flanagan told WIVT that many of the seniors were able to come down to the parking lot to see the display with their families.
According to a New York Times database, New York has been affected by coronavirus more than any other state. As of Tuesday afternoon, New York has seen 367,625 cases and 29,138 deaths attributed to the deadly disease.
The United States as a whole has had over 1.6 million cases and 98,191 deaths.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.